BWW Reviews: A Stellar Evening with Judy Norton at Sterling's
This is my first cabaret review for 2010, not counting the finale for LA's Next Great Stage Star 2010 held at Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's earlier this month on January 3. I must admit, I have yet to be disappointed @ Sterling's with the service or with the cabaret artist being showcased. Proving no exception, An Evening with Judy Norton on Sunday, January 31 was a stellar show with a true night club star.
Norton, best known for her 9 years as daughter Mary Ellen and sister of John Boy on TV's The Waltons, is a versatile singer with a terrific range...and a warm and engaging performer. Gifted and experienced, she is not nervous or phrenetic, making excuses for herself or forgetting her words...no, none of that; Norton is a consummate artist whose selection of songs were guaranteed to entertain her appreciative theatrical audience, which they did in spades. No big ego here; Norton makes you feel right at home. She made her way to the stage with "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" and once there, followed through with a series of tunes that highlighted her career: "Born in a Trunk", "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard, "Big Time" (with her first job, a Hostess Twinkie commercial). She bookmarked her Waltons success with "How Lucky Can You Get", as she sat center stage, pulling black gloves and 3 or 4 strings of pearls from her purse, and putting them on, enacting just how glamorous she felt working in the big time. That time of her life came to an end, of course, and with her next 2 numbers "Everybody Wants To Do a Musical" and "Sun In the Morning" she removed the gloves and jewelry, showing, by comparison, the insecurity of a life in the theatre.
There followed a seductive stroll into the audience for a sexy "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and, the piece de resistance, a duet with Eduardo Enrikez, who played the MC in Cabaret which Norton directed for Music Theatre of Los Angeles. Telling a story about a teenage crush she had on an actor who played Lancelot in a production of Camelot, she bemoaned the loss of young love in her hectic life. Enrikez shouted out his intentions from the audience and bolted onstage to join her in "Song That Goes Like This", proving just how egomaniacal Lancelots can be. Remember "C'est Moi"? It was a delicious moment for both artists, as Norton pretended to be annoyed by Enrikez' stealing the spotlight. Other highlights of the 70 minute set included a a snappy "Le Jazz Hot", a fabulous rendition of "Stompin' at the Savoy" and a deeply felt medley of love tunes: "What Is This Thing Called Love", "Where Do You Start" and "Love Is Only Love". Her encore of "There's No Business Like Show Business" kind of sums up Judy Norton's life as actress, singer, director, and writer. She's one happy gal who's done it all in this biz and has surely ended up the better for it, a balanced and contented woman. Norton's a dynamic performer with charm, a great instrument and a lot of love to give. Great theatrical direction from vocal coach Calvin Remsberg and musical director Ed Martel superb at the piano.
Norton's new musical Ataria co-composed with Raven Kane remains close to her heart. Judging by the song "Paintings", cut from the show and which she sang as another encore, the show will be a winner!
Visit her at http://www.judynorton.com/